Facebook, The Geezers, Raids, Locusts, Pestilence

My article fell apart. Two months of work down the toilet. Yes, it’s annoying, but it’s just part of the job. For the first time since the end of August, I don’t have an article in the works. Ideally, I would be using this time to reboot my brain, get back in the exercise routine, finish cleaning up after the kitchen contractors. I would also be using this time to blog and get my creative juices going again. ¬†Instead, I squandered the day reading a crappy novel. Meh. Must have needed to do that. There’s always a little mourning period when an article bites the dust.

Yesterday, Zuckerberg testified before the Senate. The Senators proved themselves to be even more clueless than my dad, which is truly incredible.

Dad – “Hi, Laura. I want to scan a picture. What do I do?”

Laura – Well, first you go to your Hewlett Packard icon —

Dad – I lost it. It used to be at the bottom and then it went away.

Laura – OK. Well, we need to create a new icon on your dock. First, go to your applications folder.

Dad – How do I do that?

Laura – Go to your finder.

Dad – How do I do that?

Laura – Do you see the smiling square at the bottom of your screen? Click on it.

Dad – OK, now what?

Laura – Now, you have to find the Hewlett Package file. Do you see you see it? OK, great. Now, drag it onto your dock. Drag it. Yes. Draaaggggg. Pull it onto to the dock. Wait. Did you put it in the trash can? Ugh. Nevermind. I’ll deal with it when I come there this weekend.

I am certainly not going to touch the issue of Kevin Williamson at the Atlantic. But I have been reading a lot of the commentary around the issue. I like the opening to his article on the opioid crisis.

Read this by Junot Diaz.

Read about black mothers.

And as I’m typing away, CNN is talking in the background about Trump’s hush money for the doorman with info about a love child, James Comey, raids on the lawyer’s office, and it’s becoming just a blur of hubris and rot. Will we ever regain our confidence in democracy?



SL 710

Hi all. Back again. Here’s what’s on my radar today:

I put out a request for recommendations for good books on cities on twitter and Facebook. Evicted was the winner, so I’m reading that right now.

I’ve been living in this utility jacket from Old Navy this week, along with¬†colorful scarves. With snow predicted AGAIN for this weekend, it’s not quite spring here yet, but I’m pretending.

Rachel Maddow is now the highest rated cable TV host, beating out Sean Insanity. Is this a glimpse into the next presidential race?

Please appreciate the new family section at the Atlantic.

Not a Neat and Tidy Life

Things feel entirely out of whack around here. This week is the last crunch to make the kitchen habitable. Countertops are due to arrive any minute. The backsplash goes in this afternoon. Then plumbing and electric. The workers are pounding in the molding just a few feet away, as I type away at my computer which has been relocated to the bedroom.

Chaos just twelve feet away has become the new normal. After feeling cramped in our basement and bedroom spaces for a few weeks, now it’s okay. It would be quite easy to downsize to a two bedroom apartment, when Ian finishes school.

Tomorrow, I’m heading down to Newark to do another round of interviews. I spent most of yesterday clearing things with a new editor and getting the schedule for the day. The opportunity came up, so I jumped. Unfortunately, it was also the same day as Ian’s IEP, which couldn’t be rescheduled without inconveniencing a dozen people. So, Steve took the day off from work, which inconvenienced his people, and has been given a laundry list of issues to discuss. Steve has new responsibilities at his job, so he’s been working too hard.

We’re in the midst of trying to craft a long term plan for Ian. It’s complicated and requires lawyers and money and research. I’ve started attending evening talks on the subject. We’ll take away all his rights when he turns 18. This is quite complicated when the person is highly intelligent and verbal, but does not have the social-emotional ability to care for themselves. We’ve already created a special needs trust for him. He can’t have a cent to his name when he turns 18, so he can collect social security and be eligible for various government programs. He’s excellent at computer programming — his teacher says that he’s gifted – but he would have trouble in a typical workplace. We think. We don’t know. We are planning for the best and worst outcomes.

Anyway, the school district is semi-responsible for helping us make that transition, so that’s one of the things that Steve will have to discuss with the district tomorrow.

And somehow, Ian’s after-school activities have multiplied like bunnies. He does two activities every day after school — speech, swim, Kumon, drums, keyboard. He love-hates all those activities. He complains about them, but when we stop one, he tells me that he misses his teacher, which kills me, so I sign him up for more. We’re paying nearly $1,000 per month on after school activities. And I spend two hours every day reading books or answering e-mail in the hallway outside of all these activities.

In the midst of this tumultuous home, both Steve and I are trying to pretend that we’re normal. Just like other people. Who have nothing to worry about except work and golf on the weekends. It takes a lot of work to cover up for the fact that our lives are not normal. Sure, the workers will leave in a couple of weeks and I’ll vacuum up all the clouds of dust, but we have an added level of chaos that will never leave and is very hard to explain to people.

Hell in a Handbasket

My mood is black. It could be because the contractor is still working on my kitchen. We’re living in clouds of sanded spackle. Right now, it feels like this situation is permanent, and Rich the Contractor will be living here permanently, like that guy from Murphy Brown.

Or it could because we have an insane clown in the White House.

Recent research about the changes in middle America isn’t making things better.

Teachers’ salaries in places like Oklahoma is horrific, while in my town in New Jersey, the median pay is in the six figures.

MIT economics say that parts of America are comparable to a Third-World Nation.

Middle America is having a hard time adjusting to rapid demographic changes.

African-American boys from wealthy families are less likely to stay wealthy compared to white boys or black girls. My guess is that the careers of the wealthy African American families is a variable that was missed in the analysis. Structural racism can’t explain those stats entirely, because it doesn’t seem to impact girls.

Kids and Their Protests

Anyway, lots of kids marched out of their schools yesterday. Some faced discipline from school administrators. Other school districts supported and cheered for the kids. Here in New Jersey, it went both ways.

I watched a minute of two of the film clips of the protests, but couldn’t stomach much more. I’m too jaded to be moved by impassioned speeches of 15-year olds. I love that they are testing out their political opinions, but I don’t really care what they have to say.

At some schools, there were counter protests by students on the right. Some students say that left-leaning school administrators tried to squash the counter protestors.

Administrators were largely just afraid that the situation would get out of control and someone would sue the district.

Will those protests make for any changes on gun control? My guess is no. The protests were impressive, but nobody is talking about them today. The moment is done.